The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
With a strong will to win the war against one of the most formidable cancers, Cheryl and Jack Lockton have given $5 million to M. D. Anderson's pancreatic cancer research program, a gift that equals the largest single private donation given to the institution's pancreatic cancer program.
With the $5 million gift, the Locktons have given a total of $6.15 million to pancreatic
Cheryl and Jack Lockton
|cancer research at M. D. Anderson since 2000. Mr. Lockton was diagnosed with the disease that same year and began treatment at M. D. Anderson.
"Pancreatic cancer research is woefully under-funded, and it is our goal to make M. D. Anderson's pancreatic cancer research activities the best and biggest in America," says Mr. Lockton, chairman of Lockton Companies in Kansas City. "We want to initiate research that would not be otherwise funded or accomplished, and we want to do it through new activities and new ideas."
The Locktons' $5 million gift will fund:
- Lockton Distinguished Chair in Pancreatic Cancer Research: M.D. Anderson will recruit a new senior faculty member of national prominence in the field of pancreatic cancer research. Approximately $1 million from this gift was used to create The Lockton Distinguished Chair in Pancreatic Cancer Research. This endowment is invested in the Long Term Fund and earnings in its first full fiscal year (2004) are projected to be $50,000 in support of this chair.
- Grant-matching incentives: The Lockton gift will match monies earned by researchers through the National Institutes of Health or the American Cancer Society for pancreas-specific research to encourage new and innovative pancreatic cancer research at M. D. Anderson.
- Targeted discovery: Douglas B. Evans, M.D., professor of surgical oncology, and Lee M. Ellis, M.D., professor of surgical oncology and cancer biology will focus on the rapid translation of evolving laboratory discoveries into clinical application in the early diagnosis and treatment of pancreatic cancer.
Because pancreatic cancer accounts for only 2 percent of all newly diagnosed cancers in the United States each year, private philanthropy dedicated to the disease site, compared to others such as breast cancer, is relatively minimal. However, according to the National Cancer Institute, pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of adult cancer deaths. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2003, pancreatic cancer will be responsible for approximately 30,000 deaths in the United States. The disease often is advanced by the time symptoms occur, and therefore, researchers are actively exploring novel approaches to early diagnosis.
"We are extremely grateful for the Locktons' commitment and excited about the opportunity made available by such a generous gift. This pledge will initiate and promote pivotal research to help us understand all levels of this disease, including early diagnosis as well as the biology and mechanisms of the disease, and help us initiate innovative methods of treatment," says M. D. Anderson President John Mendelsohn, M.D.
The Locktons already have begun to make a difference in pancreatic cancer research. In 2000, they committed $1.15 million to fund basic science research in the areas of early diagnosis, angiogenesis (tumor blood vessel growth) and cell signaling.
"Jack has challenged us to make M. D. Anderson the leader in pancreatic cancer research," says Evans. "Those of us who have committed to treating patients with this disease gladly accept that challenge and will do everything we can to fulfill his vision and his mandate."